Thursday, July 8, 2010


The Morning Joe Rebuttal for July 8th, 2010


1) With the welcome reinsertion of the BP oil spill into the agenda today (who knows if it was an anomaly), the cast attempted to re-learn the dimensions of the crisis. Pat Buchanan smartly doubled the show back to Erin Burnett’s game changer yesterday, but then did it for the wrong news item all while the show forgot to go back to Erin today.

It’s not the size differential between BP and Exxon, it’s the net effect of the oil spill is that it’s an acquisition opportunity for offshore interests to own an even bigger profit potential for the continued sale of oil to the United States. Still missing, still the biggest story. Andrew Ross Sorkin sort of tried to bring the equity sale into the conversation, but had a tourist’s understanding of the details and described it as a non-issue. Will he seem like an expert’s expert if he writes its memoir after the fact?

And as all the conversation waged in the realm of the political implications of BP’s earnings call being coincidentally named the new ambitious target date for the well’s sealing, of the Photoshop scandal with the Economist, and the afterthought treatment of the severely dampened containment reaction thus far to the catastrophe, it was an ever so slight grenade from England that got by the group today. ‘In the trashing of BP, America refuses to acknowledge it’s infinite demand for oil as an equal culprit in the disaster’.

Your V8 engine is likely more responsible for the oil spill than the company known as BP. It is inevitable that this disaster can be festooned upon 10 middle managers that will likely face prosecution at some point, but this will serve as little restitution for the nation as it seeks to blame away the responsibility for the spill. Those managers acted the same as any managers asked to mesh profitability with safety where profitability is accounted for with 100 times the acumen.

You, America, caused this disaster. What you do next will determine the next disaster. If we do nothing about the oil situation, we will certainly have this happen to us again, as the for profit companies get more and more desperate to feed monolithic worldwide oil consumption without squandering any opportunity cost.

If we were to devalue the per barrel oil price by any marginal activity, the first thing that goes is the riskiest extraction. The last thing that goes is the availability. America is doing the math of a society bent on extinction, and the status quo barons are all too happy to be there to own the treasure once the society is vanquished.

2) Mark Halperin has velcroed himself to the set. I have had others come to me and say negative things about his often prominent role in the show, but I have mainly considered him a non entity who occasionally offers credence to the Scarborough led conversations with fair compliment. There is no discounting his book wins political journal of the year accolades everywhere, but I’m far more prone to credit John Heilemann for turning over the rocks that made the book news. I also find more of a stature to the Heilemann debate on items, right or wrong, finding that he has a take beyond evaluation of optics.

Evaluation of optics appears to be Halperin’s 5 degrees of expertise. I don’t know whether there was a shift in the MSNBC matrix as it relates to Chuck Todd, but Todd is perpetually up there with Chris Matthews in their ability to look at possible scenarios playing out and explain them. With Halperin, it just feels like he is describing what the caption should be on an existing picture. It’s a new situation and everyone should be allowed to find their way over significant time, so hope continues for a bit. This is a give and take world though, and today Mr. Halperin’s newness steered an entire conversation the exact wrong way.

Is it weakness optically to make a recess appointment? Are you kidding? It is a strength, a show of power of the Presidency. To allow the gridlock of the legislative branch to turmoil over this, to re-avow their positions, is to allow the legislative branch to derelict the real job of governing and make sales calls for the November election.

Nope, a recess appointment is just what the doctor ordered, and as infuriating as it was when George W Bush did it to avoid re-debating the war and torture in his tenure, Obama must be selectively brutal with the power he owns to force compromise anew amongst the warring sides. He should look at whether he can force Republicans to disavow ideological parades or face a charge of politicking rather than governing. And that’s just what he did.

We have crushed our President with the charge that he is a patsy to the faux virtues of bipartisanship. Now we have to live with the consequences that he will look at each new challenge he faces and give more credence to crushing back.

3) I look forward to the midterm elections. The Republicans are energized, they have benefited greatly from our administrations missteps. Our administration has been humbled by the speed of the game.

But fortune is not had until the day after the day of determination. We have won late every time in Washington, and should that ability to close out be propagated to the DNC’s management of it’s candidate’s elections ever, we could have a surprising success.

I like to think that, like with Whitman and Fiorina in California, this is a bloodletting operation. The opponents are furiously spending money and making new slogans and talking points. Those talking points are being refined to energize their base like never before. Sell the disillusionment. Sell the blame for disasters. Sell the misstep of going harder at Afghanistan. Sell the blame for the job loss.

It’s simple math really, if you are pro business you are pro jobs. If you don’t want your kids to be destitute you are for austerity. Why didn’t Obama fix and contain the spill faster. Afghanistan is unwinnable. Your stimulus did not deliver jobs as promised and is now a fiscal eyesore.

Go ahead pile on. But look again, look hard, and find a new idea anywhere in that platform.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

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